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Sen. Trillanes asks Senate to investigate Duterte bank accounts

Senator Trillanes seeks Senate probe into President Duterte’s alleged ill-gotten wealth.

Jullie Anne Mendoza

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Duterte Trillanes 2018 Feb

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, the prominent critic of the Duterte administration, on Monday, February 5, filed a resolution petitioning for a Senate inquiry into whether President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and his eldest daughter Sara had hidden assets totaling to more than P100 million.

In Senate Resolution Number 602, Sen. Trillanes asked the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies led by chairperson Senator Sergio R. Osmeña III to probe deposits and investments including Rodrigo and Sara Duterte’s accounts, which he said could show viable violations of the Philippines’ anti-money laundering law.

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Senate leaders, however, have expressed lack of interest, with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III calling it a “tragic waste” of the committee’s time although emphasizing that he would not stop any probe.

President Duterte has maintained an image as a humble person who contempt luxuriousness and is uninterested in wealth and materialism.

Sen. Trillanes has long been accusing President Duterte of failing to disclose his wealth going back to his time as mayor of southern Davao City prior to winning the presidential race back in May 2016.

Duterte has over and over denied wrongdoings and promised to resign should there was a strong evidence of misconducts.

Duterte has even commanded the Philippines’ Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to divulge the transactions, yet the President has still to ink the required waiver for that to push through.

Senator Trillanes referred to a most recent report by VERA Files, which said the President and his daughter, who succeeded him as Davao city mayor, failed to disclose deposits and investments exceeding to P100 million in their official Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) declarations. Sara Duterte-Carpio also contradicts wrongdoing.

VERA Files said that the bank records it saw came from the Senate and were cross the threshold into records by Trillanes, who claimed the same legal papers came from the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

The Malacañang Palace rejected Trillanes’ accusations as “old news” and said the lawmaker has no enough validations.

“The council had said those documents did not come from them and that the data he was talking about was incorrect,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

He then stressed out that any plan to oust the highly popular leader would fail.

In 2017, the overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang has commenced an inquiry into allegations that the President had hidden assets. Duterte’s office last week sought his departure from the position.

Duterte has argued repeatedly with Trillanes. Back in 2017, Duterte alleged that Trillanes had secret bank accounts overseas. Trillanes’ Senate colleagues said that any probe on the President’s bank accounts would likely go nowhere.

Senator Chiz Escudero said it is his policy to hear all resolutions and bills referred to any of his committees.

“However, as to how far we can go would depend on the cooperation of the depositors concerned. Without it, we will always be hitting a wall because of the Bank Secrecy Law,” according to Escudero.

Escudero cited the case of former Commission on Elections (COMELEC) chairman Andres Bautista, who is being probed for alleged ill-gotten wealth. The Luzon Development Bank, where his bank accounts are held, declined to disclose the accounts citing the law and the lack of waiver from the COMELEC chairman. — Cetrio News

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